Daily Current Affairs - 17th Apr 2019

ADB committed highest-ever USD 3 billion in sovereign loans to India in 2018

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed USD 3 billion in sovereign loans to India in 2018, the highest level of assistance since sovereign operations began in the country in 1986.
  • It had committed for several projects in India, including in Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Odisha.
  • In India, ADB provided a USD 100-million loan to Ostro Kutch Wind, a renewable energy company. It also provided USD 30 million in equity and USD 20 million in debt security to Annapurna Finance, a microfinance company.
  • In March 2018, ADB signed a cooperation arrangement with the International Solar Alliance, headquartered in India, to promote solar energy deployment across Asia and the Pacific, particularly in South Asia.

Ajay Dixit appointed CEO of Cairn Oil & Gas

  • Cairn Oil & Gas, a vertical of Vedanta Limited, has appointed Ajay Dixit as its chief executive officer (CEO). Mr. Dixit succeeds Sudhir Mathur who, after seven successful years with the company, moves on to pursue personal endeavors.

Apparel exports drop 3.46% on GST effect

  • Apparel exports dropped 3.46% in 2018-19 compared with the year-earlier period, mainly because exporting units took time to adjust to the new rates under the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • Apparel exports last financial year were worth $16.13 billion compared with $16.71 billion in the year-earlier period.
  • Under the GST, there was almost 7% reduction in the incentives that the exporters were receiving earlier, and they also had to adjust to the new system.

BFSI propels Wipro’s Q4 profit

  • IT and digital services firm Wipro has reported a 38% increase in its net profit for the fourth quarter ended March 31 to Rs. 2,483 crore compared with Rs. 1,803 crore in the corresponding quarter last year.
  • Backed by a strong performance in the banking and insurance business (BFSI), the fourth quarter revenue rose 1.4% in reported terms and 1% in constant currency terms.
  • Total revenue for the quarter stood at Rs. 15,006 crore, a growth of 9% compared with the year-earlier period. Total revenue for the fiscal stood at Rs. 58,906 crore, a 7.5% increase compared to the Rs. 54,487 crore recorded in the year-earlier period.
  • Meanwhile, Wipro is going in for a fresh Rs. 10,500-crore share buyback, for which it recently received clearance from SEBI. This is the firm’s third buy-back programme.
  • Wipro CEO and ED Abidali Z Neemuchwala

Coast Guard patrol ship Veera commissioned

  • Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat has commissioned the Indian Coast Guard Ship Veera. Veera, third in the series of offshore patrol vessels of the Coast Guard, was built by L&T at its shipbuilding facility at Kattupalli in Chennai.
  • The commissioning of Veera will enhance the Indian Coast Guard’s operational capability to discharge its multifarious maritime tasks.
  • Veera is equipped with the state-of-the-art machinery comprising an integrated bridge system, which includes advanced navigation and communication technology and integrated platform management system.

Committee of Creditors decides to liquidate Mehul Choksi's Geetanjali Gems

  • A committee of creditors has decided to liquidate Mehul Choksi's Gitanjali Gems to recover over 12 thousand crore rupees.
  • The lenders rejected a resolution proposal and voted for liquidation, citing time over-run beyond the 180 days. The major lenders include PNB, ICICI Bank, Corporation Bank and Allahabad Bank.
  • Overall, as many as 31 financial creditors have claimed dues worth over 12,558 crore rupees from Gitanjali Gems.
  • Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are absconding since February last year after the 14,000 crore rupees PNB scam came into light.

EU 'strongly condemns' new US measures against Cuba

  • The European Union has condemned a decision by the US President Donald Trump's administration to open the way for lawsuits in American courts over property confiscated by Cuba.
  • This controversial law has angered the European allies and could rattle the island's economy, after more than two decades of delay. The European Union is currently the communist island's biggest trading partner.
  • Cuba
  • President: Miguel Díaz-Canel
  • Capital: Havana
  • Currency; Cuban peso

Fincare Small Finance Bank won the Celent Model Bank 2019 Award

  • Fincare Small Finance Bank (SFB) was honoured with the prestigious Celent Model Bank 2019 Award in Financial Inclusion category, for ‘Redesigning Lending to Reach Small Businesses’. Fincare is the only and first Small Finance Bank to receive this award.
  • The award recognizes LAP (Loans Against Property) D.Lite, a tab-based solution designed and developed in-house by Fincare SFB for origination and instant underwriting of loans against property targeted at micro and small enterprises.
  • Fincare Small Finance Bank commenced banking operations on the 21st of July, 2017, after receiving the final license from the RBI in May 2017. Fincare SFB enables financial inclusion of the under banked base of pyramid, mass retail and micro & small enterprise segments.
  • As of March 2019, Fincare SFB serves, over 15 lakh customers in 12 States and 1 Union Territory.
  • MD & CEO of Fincare Small Finance Bank: Rajeev Yadav

FPIs remain bullish on Indian markets, pour in Rs 11096 cr in April so far

  • Foreign investors have pumped in a net sum of 11,096 crore rupees into the Indian capital markets in April so far, driven by global and domestic factors.
  • FPIs invested a net amount of 13,308.78 crore rupees in equities and pulled out 2,212.08 crore rupees from the debt segment during April 1-12, taking the total net investment to 11,096.70 crore rupees.
  • This positive rally since February is largely due to the rising confidence in having a stable government post elections and the fear of economic slowdown in the developed world has also increased prospects of foreign money in the Indian market.
  • Foreign portfolio investors (FPI) were net buyers for the previous two months as well, infusing a net sum of 11,182 crore rupees in February and 45,981 crore rupees in March.

Home Expo India 2019 begins

  • The 8th edition of Home Expo India 2019 has began at India Expo Centre and Mart in Greater Noida. This Expo covers sectors with maximum thrust and growth potential in home decor, furnishing, furniture, flooring and textiles.
  • About 500 companies in permanent marts will be exhibiting their collection under these categories.
  • The three-day exhibition has been organized by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts.
  • Handicrafts exports during the year 2018-19 was to the tune of 26 thousand 590 crore rupees registering a growth of 15.46 per cent over the previous year.

ICC partners with UNICEF to deliver ‘One Day for Children’ at Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019

  • ICC has joined forces with UNICEF to deliver ‘One Day for Children’ program at the Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.
  • As part of the agreement, there will be #OneDay4Children activity throughout all 48 matches of the event. The money raised will support UNICEF’s work in cricket playing nations to help children learn to play and be healthy.

Indonesia goes to polls to elect President

  • Indonesia kicks off one of the world's biggest one-day elections, pitting incumbent President Joko Widodo against ex-general Prabowo Subianto in a race to lead the nation. More than 190 million Indonesians are set to cast a ballot. A record 245,000 candidates are running for public office.
  • The polls present a huge logistical challenge in a country stretching 4,800 kilometres across more than 17,000 islands with a population of more than 260 million, including hundreds of ethnic groups and languages.
  • Indonesia
  • Capital: Jakarta
  • Currency: Indonesian rupiah

Mahavir Jayanti being celebrated with traditional fervour today

  • Mahavir Jayanti, the birth anniversary of 24th and last Jain Tirthankar Lord Mahavir is being celebrated across the country today. It is one of the most sacred days for Jain people. The followers of Lord Mahavir celebrate this festival by chanting prayers, offering Prasad and participating in chariot processions.

MPs vote extends Sisi’s rule till 2030

  • Members of Egypt's parliament have approved changes to the constitution that will allow President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to stay in power until 2030. The changes to extend presidential terms are part of amendments initially introduced in February by a parliamentary bloc supportive of Sisi.
  • Fattah al-Sisi won his first term as president in 2014 and was re-elected in March 2018 with more than 97 per cent of the vote, after standing virtually unopposed.
  • Egypt
  • President: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
  • Capital: Cairo
  • Currency: Egyptian pound

New scientific device creates electricity from snowfall

  • UCLA researchers and colleagues have designed a new device that creates electricity from falling snow. The first of its kind, this device is inexpensive, small, thin and flexible like a sheet of plastic. The device can work in remote areas because it provides its own power and does not need batteries.
  • The researchers call it a snow-based triboelectric nanogenerator, or snow TENG. A triboelectric nanogenerator generates charge through static electricity, produces energy from the exchange of electrons.
  • Snow is positively charged and gives up electrons, when falling snow contacts the surface of silicone (negatively charged), that produces a charge that the device captures, creating electricity.

RBI puts into circulation Rs 50 banknotes signed by Governor Shaktikanta Das

  • The Reserve Bank of India has put into circulation 50 rupees denomination banknotes signed by its Governor Shaktikanta Das. The design of these notes is similar in all respects to 50 banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi new series.
  • It said that all banknotes in the denomination of 50 issued by the Reserve Bank in the past will continue to be legal tender.

Reliance Jio applies for in-flight connectivity licence to DoT

  • Reliance Jio Infocomm has approached the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for in-flight connectivity licence, that allows service providers to offer connectivity and data services to Indian and foreign airlines.
  • Besides Reliance Jio, the department has also received applications from Ortus Communications, Station Satcom and Cloud Cast Digital.

SC seeks Centre’s response on plea seeking entry of Muslim women in mosques

  • The Supreme Court of India has issued a notice to the Central government and asked it to respond on a petition seeking permission for Muslim women to enter mosques to offer prayers.
  • A bench headed by Justice S. A. Bobde told the counsel appearing for the petitioners that it will hear the matter because of the apex court's judgment in the Sabarimala temple case.
  • In the petition, a couple has sought the apex court's direction to declare as illegal and unconstitutional the practice of prohibiting the entry of Muslim women into mosques to offer prayers.

Sensex soars 370 points; Nifty ends at 11,787

  • The Sensex and Nifty claimed robust gains to hit record highs. The Sensex at the Bombay Stock Exchange climbed 370 points or 0.95 per cent to close above 39,000 mark at 39,276.
  • The Nifty at the National Stock Exchange also rose 97 points or 0.83 per cent to 11,787.

Trump vetoes bill to end US military support for Saudi-led war in Yemen

  • US President Donald Trump has vetoed a bill that was passed by the Congress to end US military assistance in Saudi Arabia's led war in Yemen. In a break with the president, the Congress voted for the first time to invoke the War Powers Resolution to try and stop the US involvement in a foreign conflict.
  • Earlier Trump issued his first veto last month on legislation related to immigration.

UN owes India $38 million for peacekeeping operations, says report

  • The United Nations (UN) owes India $38 million, the highest it has to pay to any country, for the peacekeeping operations as of March 2019, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said.
  • As of March 31, 2019, the total amount payable to troop- and police-contributing countries with respect to active peacekeeping missions was $265 million.
  • Of this, the UN owes $38 million to India, followed by Rwanda ($31 million), Pakistan ($28 million), Bangladesh ($25 million) and Nepal ($23 million).